History, or his story? Why the past matters.

History, or his story? Why the past matters.

Opinion
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Every day each one of us makes history!

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Captain Cook statue - we cannot rewrite history, but if we are mature enough we can ensure a fairer future.

Captain Cook statue - we cannot rewrite history, but if we are mature enough we can ensure a fairer future.

Every day each one of us makes history; not the kind you may think worthy of deep attention but the records of our daily lives are just as valuable for those to come as are those we study from many years past.

The reading of history is an invaluable lesson in coming to terms with our existence.

If we don't have an understanding of what went before, how will we ever begin to cope with what will happen in the future? But to gain that insight, whose history do we read?

The aphorism 'history is written by the victor' has long been incorrectly attributed to Winston Churchill; but it is an important point.

Are the thoughts of the vanquished less important than those of the victor? Or, perhaps more importantly, which history is entirely accurate?

It is inevitable the victor will have a prejudiced view: for example, we have one perspective of the Punic Wars because of the preserved records made by Herodotus.

Another case is the concept of 'terra nullius' - justifying British occupation without treaty or payment to dump convicts, white slaves in all but name.

Sad as that claim was, it is our history and we should not cringe knowing those actions were taken over two hundred years ago: and besmirching statues or changing place names will never right that wrong.

The destruction of the sacred cultural sites in remote Pilbara was an action all deplore.

Even though few knew about the caves and fewer visited them, their loss diminishes us all, undermining our values.

If we cannot protect and embrace our national heritage, make a better understanding of our history and respect the spirit of land, who are we?

We can only hope lessons will be learnt.

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